Pockets of resistance

Not that Netopia believes the conspiracy theories that Microsoft put Elop in Nokia to bring down the share price before the acquisition, but it’s funny how tech business news seems to always inspire some very creative minds. And sometimes they are right, before Snowden who would have thought that Silicon Valley – the beacon of free speech and open networks – leaked information to US security agencies? Netopia’s take on today’s news is however another altogether: Microsoft used to be the bad guy back in the 90’s. The EU punished them for competition crime in  web browsers and there were all sorts of jokes* flying around about how bad their products were. These days, Microsoft may still be one of the dominant tech companies but we have found new ones to fear. Because how scary is a 90%+ market share on productivity software really, when a search company that lives by the phrase “don’t be evil” monitors our every move on their free services and distributes that information to advertisers and government? And how intimidating is the dominant operating system on the PC, when the market is moving to smart phones and tablets where the hardware, content and retail is controlled by one very influential fruit brand? If you want to use a smart phone, you as a consumer can choose between Android, a system that aims to collect all the information in the world, and the IOS which is a closed platform completely in the hands of the hardware maker.  Or you can go for the Windows Phone, which for sure has fewer apps but from an outside perspective looks like the only friendly option.  Too bad Bill Gates, you used to be our IT-capitalist villain of choice, but now we have bigger fish to fry.

*) My favourite: A chopper pilot gets lost in a thunderstorm but finds a high rise office building. He flies up to it and writes a sign saying “Where am I?”. The people in the office busily write the answer: “You are in a helicopter”. The pilot understands it must be the Microsoft HQ as the answer is formally correct but completely useless and so can find his way back home.